Hunches, 3-11-37

I feel like providing some insight into the question, "Who is this Joe character?" The answer - JMW's younger brother!  In 'Hunches 3-25-37 the "Dear Jim and Honey" is another younger brother and his wife. Of course we all remember that the signature "Murchuda" is a noble variant of "Murphy". RMW

 Dear Joe,

 Since this is your birthday I thought I ought to send you greetings and things. But perhaps, like myself, you feel that they are coming entirely too thick and fast; and first thing you know, we shall have to admit we are out of the twenties. Personally, middle-age is a lot more satisfactory: disillusionment is painful, but it leaves a healthy glow, not unlike the relaxed feeling after a long walk. We are still rarin’ to go, but a little more choosey as to directions. So maybe we go farther; at least in the things we like to do.

 You and I are in the same boat in that we have both been kicked around pretty strenuously by circumstances. And, of course, we have lots of company. But generally speaking, I think the world is always slightly suspicious of anyone who is “down on his luck.” In other words, is it lack of ability, or lack of opportunity that keeps a fellow down? Both is the answer. But since I cannot make up my mind in my own case, I certainly will not judge yours. In fact it is senseless to try, for such gymnastics can only make us self-pittiers or defeatists. As usual, I am preaching for my own benefit, rather than that of my audience. For I cannot believe things are as bad as you painted in your letter. Possibly the misfortune of last May will turn out to be a blessing, and there are lots of things worse than being hen-pecked. Miss Brande described the real you when she wrote a whole book on the theme “Act as if it were impossible to fail.” I feel confident your next letter will show that you have no intentions of wrecking your whole life because of two insignificant domestic annoyances.

 However, I have violated the main criticism you had to offer in connection with the column. I made the mistake of trying to preach; and preachers are not noted for their sense of humor--at least in the pulpit. You were kind enough to say that I had one, but there are so darn many Democrats nowadays that it seems like somebody heaves a wet blanket on anything I write for public consumption. As long as I steer clear of Politics I can be as subtle as Jack Benny; but, doggone their hides, they keep popping up with some new crack-brained stunt any min- ... a line or two were cut off... are not in Germany, for I would be in a sedition jail right now. For instance, how is a fellow going to laugh off the President’s “victory” speech? I laughed alright but it was one of those hollow kind that leave you stranded in the middle with a glum look on your face. And I wondered if his balky horse might not have objected to plowing under a field that was all ready for harvest. Heil Roosevelt!

 Did you see the recent article on bowling? The author thinks this noble sport is “civilized man’s last chance to make a shambles and a hell of a racket without apologizing to a soul.” Cleverly put, but why not include most any kind of a ball game or trap shooting? Kids can get their pent-up emotions off their chest as nature intended. Grown-ups have to formalize their outlets. I’ve done a lot of growling about the lack of sportmanship among baseball fans. On second thought, maybe such safety valves are what keep Americans sufficiently distracted, and hence less prone to cave man stuff, such as we see in Europe.

 Be sure and read Nicolson’s “Dwight Morrow.” My natural prejudice against the gentlemen of high finance received a shock when I discovered the simplicity and sincerity of this chap. He is not what you would call a cocky rooster. I especially liked his story of asking the lad on the English highway how to get to a certain landmark. The little fellow suggested about three goes and turns, and then realized further directions would be confusing. So he said, “Perhaps when you get that far, you had better ask somebody else.” And that policy became the keynote of Morrow’s success.

 Which makes me think of the mystical beauty of the grand old hymn “Lead Kindly Light.” As I recall, it embraces the same idea in a conglomeration of words, in which poetic license runs rampant. And only a well-trained Episcopal choir can do it justice. But the words are corkers: ever since my childhood I have wondered why anyone should sing “Keep Thou my feet.”

 I apologize, Joe, for writing a personal letter in so public a manner. It just happened that the column and letter had to be done at the same time, and I have always contended that the best way is the easiest way, and vice versa. Hoping you are the same.

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